A Skyline View of Macau (Video)


I took a break this week from writing photo travelogues to try my hand at putting together a (semi)professional video clip. Here’s a clip I took from the top of Mount Fortress (Fortaleza do Monte) overlooking the Historic Centre of Macao. This and other travel video clips are available to watch on the World Adventurers YouTube Channel. If you subscribe to the channel, you’ll receive notification whenever a new clip is added. More than 30 videos have been uploaded to the site (although only a few have been edited). Stay tuned for more.

View of the Historic Center of Macau from Mount Fortress.

Click here to view the clip on YouTube if you have trouble viewing it on this page.

Posting travel videos is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I have raw video footage from around the world, but I’ve been too busy to edit and publish clips. It’s a steep learning curve figuring out how to add the video, audio, titles, transitions, and other bells and whistles to make an attractive clip and do it in short order. This is the first of many travel videos I plan to post along with the travelogues I’ve been publishing. Bear with me on the quality – I’m new at this, and it will take a few tries to learn how to make them look more polished.

I used Cyberlink’s PowerDirector software to make this. Having used some other well-known personal video editing programs, I’m convinced that PowerDirector is the best and easiest one to use. I shot this video using a pocket digital camera, so the quality is average. I will try to enhance the footage in the coming months.

Enjoy!

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain available from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex. They visited Macau in April 2012.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

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Remembering the Diplomats on Memorial Day


Every year on Memorial Day, American flags are flown to honor members of the U.S. Armed Forces who died or were wounded in the line of duty. Their service is noble, and I appreciate that our country publicly acknowledges their sacrifices.

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Scant attention, however, is paid to the civilians who serve courageously in the line of fire. Diplomats and other civilians who work for the U.S. government are often placed in dangerous and unstable locales around the world. They have participated in every war and conflict since the Revolutionary War alongside their military colleagues. In some cases, the civilians stayed behind after the troops withdrew, as happened last year in Iraq. They were also stationed in places without the benefit of U.S. military support when unrest occurred, as happened in Libya, Syria, and in other countries that experienced upheaval during the Arab Spring.

Hundreds of American diplomats have died in the line of duty. Their deaths were caused by natural disasters, diseases, killings, assassinations, and trying to save others’ lives. Two memorial plaques in the entrance hall of the State Department list the names of the 231 diplomats who have died in the line of duty since William Palfrey was lost at sea in 1780. More recently, Brian Adkins was killed in his home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2007, and David Foy was killed in 2006 by a car bomb in Karachi, Pakistan. This figure does not include the 52 Americans held hostage for 444 days during the 1979-80 Iran Hostage Crisis when students and militants overran the then-U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The International News offers a sobering analysis of the history of violence against American diplomats, reporting that 111 have been killed or assassinated since 1780. According to the State Department, more ambassadors than U.S. generals or admirals have been killed since World War II. The U.S. Diplomacy Project tells the tales of diplomats who were put in harm’s way while serving overseas.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA         While 231 may not sound like a large number, consider that at any given time there are only about 11,000 American diplomats versus the more than 2.5 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces. A rough comparison of casualties during the Iraq War in 2008 revealed that personnel working for the State Department in Iraq during 2003-08 had a casualty rate of about 50% that of their military counterparts. As the events of September 11, 2001, showed, you don’t have be involved in active combat to be a casualty of war and terrorism.

Civilians who serve our country overseas work for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other U.S. Government agencies or as contractors. Many support the U.S. military and diplomatic corps in hostile and dangerous conditions. They are unsung heroes who are rarely featured on the evening news or in movies. They labor in obscurity to protect the freedoms that Americans enjoy.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act (Public Law 90-363) set aside Memorial Day as a federal holiday to be celebrated each year on the last day of May. The law, however, does not specify who or what it commemorates. That’s up to you to decide. In the minds of many Americans, Memorial Day is a day to honor the U.S. Armed Forces, but this was not always so. The holiday known in the late 1800’s as Decoration Day recognized the veterans of the Union Army who fought in the American Civil War. After World War I, the generally accepted meaning of the day was to honor all Americans, military or civilian, who died in any war. This changed following World War II. It’s time to return to the days when we acknowledged the efforts of all who serve their country bravely in and out of uniform.

This Memorial Day, amid the barbeques, car races, fireworks, and gatherings, remember the diplomats and other civilians who faithfully serve their country in harm’s way.

Happy Memorial Day. God bless America, and God bless those who serve our country.

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Click here to read my 2007 post on Memorial Day.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State. The photos belong to the author.

clip_image001M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. His collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

The Historic Center of Macau


This is the second in a series of articles about Macau, a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. As with the show The House of Dancing Water, we took too many great photos of the Historic Centre of Macao (the Portuguese spelling of Macau) to include all of them in my upcoming list of the Top Ten Things to Savor in Macau. It merits its own post with a full photo collage.

The colonial area of the city with its mix of Portuguese and Chinese influences was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005. According to UNESCO, “with its historic street, residential, religious and public Portuguese and Chinese buildings, the Historic Centre of Macao provides a unique testimony to the meeting of aesthetic, cultural, architectural and technological influences from East and West.”

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The Centre stretches over several square kilometers in two zones: one between Barra Hill to the west and Mount Hill in the center, and the other to the east encompassing the Guia Fortress, Guia Chapel, and Guia Lighthouse. The first zone boasts 20 monuments of special significance to the blending of eastern and western influences harkening back to Macau’s days as a Portuguese colony. A complete list is at the end of this article.

During our trip to Macau in April 2012, we visited the monuments near Mount Hill. They’re shown in the map above. Starting at Senado Square (10 on the map), we walked to Mount Fortress (21), the Ruins of St. Paul’s (29), and back to the square. The small area was packed with things to see and made a great daytime walking tour. Unfortunately, time and weather did not permit us to see the other sites in the Centre — perhaps during a future visit.

We started at the Mount Fortress (Fortaleza do Monte in Portuguese). The hilltop fortress was built in 1626 by the Jesuits to defend themselves from attack. The colonial government seized it after Pope Clement XIV dissolved the Jesuits’ Order, the Society of Jesus, in 1773, and the Jesuits departed. It served for many years as the residence of the governors of Macau and a military fort. It is now home to the Museum of Macau. You can almost hear echoes of the city’s colonial past near the cannons on the ramparts. The beautiful garden offers panoramic views of the old city.

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The Museum of Macau.

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A short escalator ride down the hill is the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral and College, one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Completed in 1602 by the Jesuits, it was one of the largest Catholic complexes in Asia but fell into decline after the Jesuits’ departure. It was destroyed by a fire during a typhoon in 1835. The cathedral’s façade crowning a long flight of stone steps was the only visible remnant of the church. Its baroque features reminded me of the Jesuit Reductions in South America that were built at about the same time.

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Statue depicting the Apostle Paul.

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The back side of the cathedral’s façade — an interesting contrast from the front.

Next to the Ruins of St. Paul’s is the nondescript Na Tcha Temple, a Buddhist and Taoist temple built in 1888 to honor the Taoist deity of protection, Na Tcha. Perhaps just as significant is the red-brown wall behind the temple that’s reportedly one of the last standing sections of the Old Wall of Macau destroyed by the Chinese in 1622.

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Na Tcha Temple and a section of the old Macau wall.

Na Tcha Temple

We walked down the steps of the Ruins of St. Paul’s to the intersection of Rua de Sao Paulo and Rua de Santo Antonio, where the shopping district of the Historic Centre of Macao began. Heading away from St. Paul’s, Rua de Santo Antonio became a cobblestone pedestrian street that headed to Senado Square.

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At the base of the steps was an interesting statue depicting a Caucasian man and Asian woman that apparently signified the union of eastern and western influences in Macau. In an eternal pose the woman offers the man a lotus flower, and the man accepts with an open hand.

Love Statue

As we made our way through the Centre’s shopping district, we saw a variety of western and Asian storefronts sprouting from colorful Portuguese-style colonial buildings with signs in Chinese, English, and Portuguese. It was an interesting melding of the old and new. Most tourists here were Chinese drawn by the excellent shopping opportunities.

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A side street off Rua de Santo Antonio.

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An old home.

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Colonial building near Rua de Santo Antonio.

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Near the junction of Rua de Santo Antonio and Rua Sao Domingos, we passed by the beautiful St. Dominic’s Church. Originally built in 1587, the baroque interior is worth a look-see.

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Turning a corner, we entered Senado Square, or Senate Square, the heart of historic Macau. The square was paved with a colorful mosaic of cobblestones surrounding a contemporary fountain bedecked with a metallic globe. The Leal Senado, General Post Office, the Santa Casa de Misercordia (Holy House of Mercy), a Portuguese charity, and other colonial buildings bordered the square.

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The Leal Senado (Loyal Senate) erected in 1784 was the seat of Macau‘s colonial government. Its name, bestowed in 1810, honors the colony’s continued loyalty to the Portuguese monarchy during the Iberian Union (1580-1640). It has served as the headquarters of the Institute of Civic & Municipal Affairs, which administers local matters, since Macau’s transfer of sovereignty to China in 1999.

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The General Post Office.

General Post Office

The monuments described above are only some of the significant ones in the Historic Centre of Macao. Others include (from Wikipedia):

The walking tour from Mount Fortress to Senado Square is accessible by foot and takes about half a day. If you’re planning a trip to Macau, take your time and set aside at least two days to visit the Historic Centre.

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clip_image001M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain available from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex. They visited Macau in April 2012.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

“The House of Dancing Water” Show in Macau


I was writing a blog entry on the Top Ten Things to Savor in Macau, a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, former Portuguese colony, and gambling capital of Asia, when I realized that one of my recommendations merited its own post. My family and I had taken too many excellent photos of the show, The House of Dancing Water, a Vegas-style stage production, to limit this attraction to a mere bullet point on a list.

The show, now playing at the City of Dreams in Macau, is a wonderfully choreographed experience in an intimate aqua theater-in-the-round. The spectacular show features aerial acrobatics, provocative choreography, and elegant artistry. It is similar to the aquatic theatre show Le Rêve – The Dream at the Wynn Las Vegas and produced by Franco Dragone, who also produced Le Rêve and is known for his work with Cirque du Soleil.

The House of Dancing Water offers a uniquely Asian take on the aquatic theater concept. The U.S.$250 million production that took five years to develop and two years to rehearse is billed as the “world’s largest water-based show” according to the City of Dreams website. The one-of-a-kind production that combines theater, dance, gymnastic artistry, high-performance diving, and state-of-the-art displays of water imagery were truly awe inspiring.

The following is the synopsis of the story from the show’s website:

The Story begins on the coast of Coloane. A Fisherman traveling with his boat enjoys his journey. Suddenly, a mysterious energy from the water creates a terrible whirlpool, grabs the Fisherman, and pulls him to a place and a time of legend. He does not realize for a while what is happening at that moment. He observes, lost and intrigued, when a storm brings a survivor from a shipwreck, a Stranger to this magical kingdom. The young, brave Stranger encounters and falls in love with a beautiful Princess who was thrown into a cage by her evil stepmother, the Dark Queen. Without hesitating, the Fisherman decides to help the Stranger fight against to the Dark Queen and rescue the Princess. With his help, the Stranger and the Princess defeat the Dark Queen, and the Fisherman obtains an unexpected reward. It is a spectacular love story through time and space.

Below are photos from the performance we watched when we visited Macau in April 2012. The theater allowed flash-free photography.

Mysterious energy grabs the Fisherman and pulls him to a place and a time of legend.

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A survivor from a shipwreck, a Stranger to this magical kingdom encounters and falls in love with a beautiful Princess.

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The Princess was thrown into a cage by her evil stepmother, the Dark Queen.

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The Fisherman decides to help the Stranger fight against to the Dark Queen and rescue the Princess.

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An epic battle. Dueling motorcycles were an interesting addition to the show.

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With the Fisherman’s help, the Stranger and the Princess defeat the Dark Queen, and the Fisherman obtains an unexpected reward.

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Images projected onto the water. Amazing.

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High diving from the theater ceiling.

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The highest dive of all. This dive was from at least 25 meters high.

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Final bows and curtain call.

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One of the most flexible performers I’ve ever seen. The way he contorted his body was unbelievable.

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Tickets to see The House of Dancing Water are not cheap, but it’s worth the price of admission. It is easily one of the top attractions at any of the casinos in Macau and highly recommended if you’re visiting the gambling capital of Asia.

The official trailer shows some of the spectacular scenes from the show.

“The House of Dancing Water” Trailer
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buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain available from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex. They visited Macau in April 2012.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

I Received the Versatile Blogger Award!


versatileblogger11I was surprised to receive the Versatile Blogger Award (VBA) from esteemed author and blogger Ella Medler. Thank you, Ella! It’s an honor. Ella is a super duper colleague in the writing field. Please check out her awesome work!

Versatile Blogger Award (VBA)

What is it?

As far as I can tell — details are rather sketchy and only the creator knows for sure — this lofty-sounding award is basically a mutual admiration society where bloggers recognize their peers for writing quality blogs that touched them in some way. The VBAs honor the blogger rather than specific posts. It’s a chance for bloggers to pat themselves on the back like the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does with the Oscars. Until someone starts giving out Blogscars, the VBAs will have to suffice.

What are the criteria?

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award. I nominated 15 outstanding bloggers below. Congratulations!

Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.

Thank you, Ella. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.

Visit Ella’s blog at http://ellamedler.wordpress.com/. You’ll be glad you did.

Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. (I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)

The envelope, please…

Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.

And the nominees/winners are (in alphabetical order):

  1. August McLaughlin – Savor the Storm (http://augustmclaughlin.wordpress.com/)
  2. CR Hiatt – McSwain & Beck (http://mcswainandbeck.com/)
  3. Craves Adventure – Our Travels Out West (http://cravesadventure.wordpress.com/)
  4. CrissCrossingIndia – Adventure Travel and Photography Across India (http://crisscrossingindia.wordpress.com/)
  5. David C. Cassidy – Because Life is a Really Good Story (http://davidccassidy.com/)
  6. Donna B. McNicol – 2 Taking a 5th (http://www.2takinga5th.com/)
  7. KG Arndell – Musings of a Dark Fantasy Writer (http://kgarndell.com/)
  8. Jeff Whelan – SpaceOrville (http://jeffwhelan.wordpress.com/)
  9. Lada Ray (http://ladaray.wordpress.com/)
  10. Lesley Carter – Bucket List Publications (http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/)
  11. Pranjal Borthakur (http://pranjalborthakur.wordpress.com/)
  12. R.M. Wilburn – Ponderous Things… (http://ponderous-max.blogspot.com/)
  13. Sheila Pierson – I Write, Therefore I Am (http://sheilapierson.wordpress.com/)
  14. The Jumping Polar Bear (http://jumpingpolarbear.com/)
  15. Vanna Smythe – Fantasy Author (http://vannasmythe.com/)

Congratulations, winners!

Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Hmm, seven things about me. Okay, here goes:

1. In the past decade I’ve lived in nine different locations in five countries on four continents.

2. I proposed to my wife on one knee in a gravel parking lot. She said “yes” anyway after I whined about how much the rocks hurt my kneecap.

3. I joined the Cub Scouts for the first time with my son and am his den leader. I did not participate in scouts as a kid, and this is the first time in my son’s young life that he’s lived where there’s a troop. It’s been fun scouting vicariously through him. Today we built and shot off bottle (water) rockets. It brings out the kid in me!

4. My favorite sport is baseball, but I took a liking to cricket when I lived in Africa because it looks like baseball with different rules.

5. I have a falsetto singing voice like Roy Orbison and Chris Isaak and love to belt out the karaoke version of “Oh! Pretty Woman.”

6. I enjoy getting to know people from around the world. One of my favorite things to do is to meet up in one location with friends I met elsewhere. Today, in fact, I’m getting together in Bangkok, Thailand with friends I met several years ago in Seoul, Korea.

7. One of the toughest challenges living overseas is missing those foods that you love but can’t buy abroad. I miss dishes from my favorite restaurants, not to mention perishable foods that I can’t ship. Thank goodness I can buy and ship beef jerky, cereal, and granola bars. But every once in a while I suffer from store-bought Christmas eggnog withdrawals.

Congratulations to the new VBA winners, and thanks again to Ella Medler for nominating me!

 

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. His collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Bihu, Assamese New Year – Guest Post by Pranjal Borthakur


Bihu, Assamese New Year

Guest Post by Pranjal Borthakur

Bihu is a set of three cultural festivals celebrated in the Indian Province of Assam and other regions of the Indian subcontinent. The most popular, Rongali Bihu, celebrates the onset of the Assamese New Year in mid-April (around April 15). The second, Kongali Bihu, occurs in mid-October, while the third, Bhogai Bihu, happens at the end of the harvest season in January. Rongali Bihu commemorates the first day of the Hindu solar calendar and the beginning of the agricultural season when farmers cultivating their fields feel a sense of joy and optimism. The ancient festival lasts seven days and is known for its feasts, lively performances, and merriment. The celebration generally transcends castes and religion and has evolved into a more secular festival that promotes humanity, peace, and fraternity between the classes and faiths.

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The festival begins on the last day of the previous year — usually April 14. On the first day, called Goru (Cow) Bihu, cows are washed and smeared with paste, struck with sprigs of herbs, untethered, and allowed to roam free for the day.

On New Year Day, Manuh (Human) Bihu, celebrants clean up, put on new clothing, and ring in the New Year with vigor. Elders are shown respect, receive bihuwan (gamosa cloth), a hachoti (kerchief), and are asked for blessings. The red-and-white gamosa hand woven on a loom by mothers and daughters (see below) is especially revered as a mark of respect for the Assamese and a prized gift. Husori (carol) singing begins, and people visit family and friends.

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The third day, Gosai (Gods) Bihu, is dedicated to the worship of the gods, with requests for blessings in the New Year, and cleaning house. The remaining days, Hat Bihu, Senehi Bihu, Maiki Bihu, and Sera Bihu, each represent a special significance in the New Year.

Pitha, traditional cakes made from rice flour and fillings such as coconut, and larus or jolpan snacks help make the season more festive.

Music plays a central role in Bihu. Folk songs associated with the Rongali Bihu are called Bihu Geets (Bihu songs). Husori (huchari) are traditional carols that celebrate Bihu. Huchari comes from the Dimasa Kachari words for “land” (ha) and “move over” (char). Rongali Bihu is also a fertility festival, where Bihu dancing celebrate young women’s fertility with its sensuous movements. It is a time for young men and women to seek partners and mates.

 

Bihu Performances

Singing, dancing, and performing is a very important part of the celebration. Dancers dance on an elevated stage in an open area known as a Bihutoli popular throughout Assam. Performances may include Bihu dances, theatrical performances, concerts by solo singers, and standup comedy that entertain audiences late into the night. They keep the audience enthralled well into the early hours of the morning. In the photos below, village children in small groups sing husori and dance in traditional Bihu style.

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My niece Mamu posed with the village kids after their Bihu dance. She enjoyed it so much that she begged to take photos with them in Assamese, “Munu mur photo tana.”

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Children, adolescents, and teens perform suori or dhodhi monthon, a reenactment of the god Krishna’s childhood.

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Various tribal groups take the stage to compete with one another singing husori. The singers announce their arrival with drum beats and come on stage, where they sing songs and perform a ring dance. At the end of the performance, they are thanked with an offering. In one dance, young men engaged in a mock war with one another on stage. It was quite unnerving!

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In some parts of Assam, Kali Puja is also performed as a prayer to the goddess Kali. It typically involves the sacrifice of goats and other animals.

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40 idol of goddess Kali

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Young unmarried men and women wearing traditional golden silk muga dance the Mukoli Bihu and sing Bihu songs to celebrate female sexuality. The songs have themes of requited or unrequited romance and love. Although the songs describe tragic events, they are treated lightly by the audience. Bihu dance groups from different villages compete with one another for the privilege of joining the Village Bihu Group.

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proud moments for the group

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Other forms of Bihu that are celebrated in Assam include Fat Bihu, an old form characterized by spontaneity that is popular in Lakhimpur, Assam; the Jeng Bihu performed and watched exclusively by women; Beshma, and Baisago.

About Shree Sai Siksha Niketan School

The Shree Sai Siksha Niketan School is located in Guwahati, the capital of Assam Province in India. The school for boys and girls has 51 students in grades 1 through 12. Although the school is financed by private sources and resources are limited, Mr. Borthakur and his dedicated staff and teachers work hard to provide a quality education to these promising students. Since its founding, the school has grown from 12 students and continues to grow. Below are photos of the school’s students performing at the First Annual Day Celebration held in early 2012.

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51 head girl of school52Below are photos of the school principal and the staff. They are a dedicated group of individuals.

60 my appointee principal

58 my staff

Students and staff participate in a class activity at the school.

61Group Song

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About Pranjal Borthakur

Pranjal Borthakur is head of the Shree Sai Siksha Niketan School. Married and a father of two, he has dedicated his life to running Shree Sai Siksha Niketan School and offering an affordable education to children in Guwahati. Below are photos of Mr. Borthakur and his family in Guwahati.

59 me on my table

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Pranjal’s daughter Asmita (center), son Manas (left), and niece Mamu.

my daughter asmita,son manas and niece mamu

50 my daughter Asmita in Black specs

pic48 my son Manas

Pranjal’s wife with a group during a school outing.

51 my wife front posing back in school picnic

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Photos from Pranjal’s childhood. Riding horses with his brother Pranab and with his father, Dr. Borthakur, and brother.

me and my brother pranab in our childhood(left me)

my father dr.borthakur,me and my bro

For more information about Assamese culture, the Shree Sai Siksha Niketan School, or to inquire how you can support the school, contact Mr. Borthakur at:

E-mail: pranjalbarthakur@gmail.com

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/@pranjalbor

Web page: http://sssniketan.blogspot.com/

Blog:  http://pranjalborthakur.wordpress.com/

Phone: +917399555359

Address: Pranjal Borthakur, Airforce Gate, Village Raibori, Police Station Palasbari, Post Office Bongora , Guwahati-781015

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Kilimanjaro Book Nominated for Global Ebook Award


GeBA_Sticker-Nominated-GOLDM.G. Edwards’ debut book, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, has been nominated for the 2012 Global Ebook Award in two categories, Inspirational/Visionary – Non-Fiction and Sports/Fitness/Recreation – Non-Fiction.

Kilimanjaro is a memoir chronicling the author’s attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. At forty years old and on the verge of a midlife crisis, he tried to change his life by climbing a mountain. This is his true story of facing Kilimanjaro and other challenges at middle age.

Readers rave about Kilimanjaro, calling it “life changing,” “inspirational,” and “an epic journey of self-discovery.” This book is for anyone who feels over the hill and needs encouragement to make a life change in the face of difficult odds. It’s also for the casual climber, mountaineer, or hiker who is interested climbing one of the world’s tallest mountains. Filled with insights and advice for those who are contemplating their own Kilimanjaro climb, this book will put you on the mountain and inspire you to go over it.

Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travelogues. A former U.S. diplomat, he served in South Korea, Paraguay, and Zambia before leaving the Foreign Service to write full time. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

The Global Ebook Awards honor and bring attention to the future of book publishing:  Ebooks. Now in its second year, the Awards are given in 72 specific categories. They are open to all publishers. Each winner is chosen as best in its category rather than based on size or region. Submissions are judged by a panel of 250 judges who are experts in the categories and genres of the books nominated. The awards ceremony will be held in Santa Barbara, California on August 18, 2012. For more information, visit http://globalebookawards.com.

Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill is available to purchase as an ebook from mge-kili-cover-front-midthese booksellers:

Amazon.com

Apple iTunes

Barnes & Noble

Diesel Ebooks

Goodreads

Kobo Books

Smashwords

The Wordshop

Kilimanjaro is available in print at these booksellers:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

Createspace

Diesel Book Store

For more information about the book or M.G. Edwards, visit www.mgedwards.com or worldadventurers.wordpress.com. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/migedwards/, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.